Shops in Rotterdam
Whereas Amsterdam has Noppes,
the largest LETS group in Holland (or maybe the world!) with over
920 members, Rotterdam has LETS Ruilwinkels, or LETS shops, which
were introduced to use people’s ‘unused qualities’
and have a combined membership of over 1,300.
The Rotterdam LETS Shops
were introduced about 6 years ago and are supported financially by
the local government which pays all rental costs and the LETS shop
co-ordinator’s wages. The first shop proved to be so successful
that now there are 5 LETS Shops in operation.
And the only requirement
these shops need to achieve in order to keep their funding is to recruit
200 members within their first 12 months (trial period), and keep
And this is how it works
The members join for free
and can trade with any of the 5 LETS shops. All they need to join
is to supply a photo and ID.
The shops offer goods and
services to the general public but these cannot be purchased for cash!
Only LETS credits are acceptable, so people need to become members
of the LETS shop in order to make a purchase. Then they repay their
debt by offering their own goods and services through the shop.
Each member makes a purchase
first, then they bring something back to the shop which they leave
on consignment. The items are labeled with the member’s membership
number and the price in LETS credits. Then when it’s sold, the
supplying member’s account is credited and the buying member’s
account is debited.
The goods offered comprise
of used books, clothes, toys, etc. and also handicrafts made by the
members. Each member puts his own price on the goods, but the credits
aren’t added to the member’s account until they are sold.
There is also a notice
board in the shop displaying the various services offered by each
member. But a more comprehensive list of goods and services offered
is on the shop’s computer system. So when a member needs something
done, they can choose to make the contact themselves from the notice
board or ask the LETS shop co-ordinator to search the Members Directory
on the computer and make the contact for them.
A LETS Ruilwinkels newspaper
is printed 4 times per year and either posted to the members or left
in the shop to be collected (as the LETS shop co-ordinator chooses).
The last shop
was opened in February this year and has already got 386 members.
And although one of the shops is due to be closed soon because of
a lack of members, another one has been approved for opening. So the
LETS Shops in Rotterdam look like they’ll be around for a very
article is taken from the ebook,
400-Day LETS Odyssey
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